It was almost exactly a decade ago that the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. Back then, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis led the charge, finishing first and second respectively in the Lightning’s playoff scoring race.
Richards and St. Louis haven’t played in the final round since that series. A lot has happened and their uniforms have changed, but the New York Rangers duo is hoping that the ending will be the same.
“Never would have thought we’d be here today, in New York, doing it,” Richards said, per the Bergen Record. “Even to start the season, I never imagined Marty being here.”
St. Louis, who was acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline, is one of the big reasons they’ve gotten this far. He went on a six-game point streak from May 11-25 as the Rangers dug themselves out of a hole against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and then gained the upper hand versus Montreal in the Eastern Conference Final.
During that stretch, St. Louis scored the overtime winner against Montreal in Game 4 to give the Rangers a commanding 3-1 series lead that the Canadiens were unable to recover from.
When the 2013-14 campaign started, Richards and St. Louis didn’t have many playoff games under their belts. This time around, they will serve as the voices of experience on a Rangers’ club that hasn’t won a championship since 1994.
Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?
TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”
Daly said that he’d be surprised “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”
As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.
For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.
The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.
So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?
At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”
Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.